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Partial or complete dentures (removable teeth) can replace lost teeth, improving the appearance of your smile.

These false teeth are designed to look natural, and they’re made from different materials like acrylic and metal.

Even though your denture teeth are false, it’s still important to clean them regularly.

Cleaning dentures involves more than brushing, though. Other steps are required to keep them in good condition and maintain your oral health.

Keep reading to learn how best to clean and maintain your dentures.

Plaque and food stick to dentures in the same way they stick to natural teeth. Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on dentures and teeth after eating and drinking.

If you don’t clean your dentures, plaque can build up, putting you at risk of gum disease and bad breath.

Regular cleanings are vital to your overall oral health. To keep dentures clean, you’ll need the following:

  • a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • water
  • denture cleaning solution or mild soap
  • a soft towel

Plan to brush your dentures at least once daily. Brushing them twice a day, every morning and every night is even better. But don’t use toothpaste when brushing your dentures.

Many toothpaste brands contain ingredients that are too abrasive for removable teeth. These toothpastes can gradually damage the surface of dentures, leaving scratches or small cracks.

Instead, brush your dentures with a soft-bristled toothbrush designed specifically for dentures. These toothbrushes can prevent scratches on the surface of your dentures.

Even though brushing is important, brushing alone doesn’t clean dentures. To maintain dentures long-term, you must thoroughly clean them each night after removal.

Cleaning instructions

Step 1. Place a soft, folded towel on your bathroom counter before removing your dentures. If you accidentally drop your dentures, the softness provides a cushion to protect them.

Step 2. Remove the dentures from your mouth and rinse them with warm water.

Step 3. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently brush your dentures to loosen and remove bacteria, food particles, and plaque. Clean all areas of the denture surface. You can use a denture cleanser or mild soap and warm water. Brushing also loosens and removes any denture adhesive. After brushing, rinse the dentures with warm water.

Step 4. If you’re going to bed, soak your dentures in lukewarm water or a denture-soaking solution overnight. Don’t let your dentures dry out. Dryness causes them to lose their shape and become more brittle. In the mornings, rinse your dentures before wearing.

Warning. Don’t soak your dentures in hot water. Heat can alter the shape of the material.

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Dentists recommend that you clean your dentures at least once daily. It’s even better to brush your dentures twice a day.

It’s a good idea to brush your dentures when you wake up in the morning and before going to bed at night. You should also soak them in a mild soap or a dental cleaning solution each night.

Although you shouldn’t use toothpaste when brushing dentures, you should use toothpaste to brush your gums and tongue twice a day. This keeps your gums healthy and helps prevent bad breath.

If you have partial dentures, don’t forget to brush and floss your remaining teeth daily.

Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash also contributes to oral health. You can remove dentures before using mouthwash, or use mouthwash designed for denture wearers.

Properly cared for dentures can last an average of 7 to 10 years. Here are a few tips to extend the life of your dentures.

Maintenance tips

  • To prevent a buildup of food debris and particles, remove and rinse your dentures with warm water after eating and drinking.
  • Dentures are fragile and can break easily. Handle them with care, and take your time when cleaning. Always remove and clean dentures over a sink of water or over a folded towel.
  • Some chemicals are too harsh for dentures. Don’t apply toothpaste or teeth whitening products to your dentures. Abrasive toothpaste can cause scratches, and whitening products can change the color of your dentures.
  • Don’t sleep in your dentures.
  • Soak dentures in warm or cool water overnight. Hot water can change the shape of your dentures.
  • If your dentures break, call your dentist. Don’t attempt to fix broken dentures yourself. This can cause further damage to removable teeth.
  • If you’re using denture adhesive, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the proper amount. Remove adhesive from the dentures nightly with a soft-bristled toothbrush, mild soap, and water.
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Regular dental appointments are an essential part of your oral health. If you have dentures, continue to schedule regular checkups with your dentist every 6 months.

Also, contact your dentist if you have any concerns about your dentures.

Make an appointment if your dentures:

  • feel uncomfortable
  • slip or no longer fit properly
  • make noise when you talk or eat
  • appear visibly worn or broken

You should also contact your dentist if you develop:

  • mouth sores
  • bleeding gums
  • bad breath

If you develop mouth sores, this may mean that your dentures no longer fit properly.

Dentures can improve your smile and build your self-confidence. But it’s important to properly care for them.

Consistent cleaning not only extends the life of your dentures, but also helps maintain your oral health.

Be sure to clean and soak your dentures every day with the right materials, and call your dentist if you have any complications.